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Nearly 40,000 have fled Mariupol in past week, say authorities

Evacuees from Mariupol are seen upon arrival at the car park of a shopping centre on the outskirts of the city of Zaporizhzhia, which is now a registration center for displaced people, on March 16, 2022. (Emre CAYLAK / AFP)
Evacuees from Mariupol are seen upon arrival at the car park of a shopping centre on the outskirts of the city of Zaporizhzhia, which is now a registration center for displaced people, on March 16, 2022. (Emre CAYLAK / AFP)

Authorities in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol say that nearly 40,000 people have fled over the past week. That’s nearly 10% of its 430,000 population.

The city council in the Azov Sea port city says that 39,426 residents have safely evacuated from Mariupol in their own vehicles. It says the evacuees used more than 8,000 vehicles to leave via a humanitarian corridor via Berdyansk to Zaporizhzhia.

The strategic city has been encircled by the Russian troops and faced a relentless Russian bombardment for three weeks, coming to symbolize the horror of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Local authorities have said the siege has cut off food, water and energy supplies, and killed at least 2,300 people, some of whom had to be buried in mass graves. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said early this morning that the siege of Mariupol will go down in history for what he said were war crimes committed by Russian troops.

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